If you have ever tried to do a spend-free day, you will have a real appreciation for exactly how frequently we spend money. Taps here and clicks there define our days. With every tap and click we are having an impact on the world. Your money goes to a company, and that company uses it to pay their staff, grow their business and pay their suppliers.
Here are 3 ways you can make sure that impact is a force for good:
1. Support sustainable businesses
Every time you part with your hard earned cash you are acquiring a product or service, but you are also supporting that company and industry. We are becoming more responsible spenders. The rise of the reusable coffee mug, water bottle and straw are a clear statement of this.
Voting with your cash is a powerful statement and we should care about the companies we buy from and, importantly, their supply chains. This isn’t always easy so here are some amazing businesses you may not have heard of that put sustainability first.
Oddbox - unwanted vegetable rescue and delivery company
Mindful Chef - ethically sourced food delivery
Find your local refillable food shop - food shops all over the UK that have done away with single use plastic
Origin - the UK’s first not for profit fashion brand
Rapanui - sustainable and circular economy fashion
Accessories and homeware
Who Gives A Crap - recycled and plastic free toilet roll, kitchen roll and tissues
Crafty Girl Collective - environmentally friendly, handmade homeware and accessories
Kind Jewels - ethical and responsibly sourced, handmade jewellery
The Good Aura Company - vegan candles
Damson and Vine - eco friendly florist
2. Don’t waste
The quickest and easiest way for you to have a positive impact on both the world around us and your own wallet is cutting back on waste. Far too often we buy things we don’t use or need, just to throw them away.
Food is the classic - we buy more than we need or don’t use it in time and next thing we know we are chucking out a bag of perfectly good (but mouldy) carrots. Our resident foodie Amelia from @mimiskitchen has some great tips for minimising food waste when cooking for yourself - check out her latest blog here.
Fast fashion is the next offender as the source of 92 million tonnes of waste every year. You aren’t saving money by buying 5 cheap New Look dresses that you wear once and throw out. Counter intuitive, perhaps, for a financial wellbeing blogger to say this but…spend a bit more money on items that last and do your bit to cut down the vast amount of waste produced by the fashion industry.
My final comment on this is Christmas. Some of you may already be present planning (hopefully not too many of you, it’s August for crying out loud)! In the name of Christmas, we have normalised the process of spending large sums of money on presents that people don’t want or need. Exhibit A, your work secret santa. When was the last time you got a secret Santa gift that you actually used? She asks looking at the nerf gun she was given last year that is still sitting on the shelf in the box. If 100 people spend £10 per person on cheap tat, that’s £1,000 wasted. This year, why not do something different like donate money to charity in their name or buy them a lottery ticket?
3. Take an interest in your carbon footprint
You won’t always find a satisfactory positive impact alternative to your needs. Let’s face it, most of us will still hop on a plane without a second thought, because how else can you get to the med in your 1 week of leave?! That doesn’t mean you should just give up on being environmentally responsible.
There are apps like CoGo & Klima that estimate your carbon footprint, show you where to have the biggest impact to scale it back and help you balance the rest through carbon offsetting. These tools aren’t perfect and are based on a lot of estimates and assumptions but they will be a useful tool to inform your sustainable spending choices.